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Māori Origins and Migrations: The Genesis of Some Pakeha Myths and Legends – Keith Sorrenson (1974).

This is a brief and fascinating study of European theories about where Māori people came from. Published in 1974, Māori Origins and Migrations remains relevant; highlighting theories that are now outdated and illuminating others that were hardened into myths and became accepted truths.

Publication details

Sorrenson, M.P.K. Māori Origins and Migrations: The Genesis of Some Pakeha Myths and Legends. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1974.

About the book

Professor Keith Sorrenson (Ngāti Pukenga) writes that since Europeans first set foot in New Zealand they have speculated about where the Māori people came from, how they made their way to New Zealand and how they lived when they arrived here. Theories have abounded: some of them have hardened into accepted truth and the result has been an accumulation of Pakeha myths about Māori origins. The process of this mythmaking is the subject of Sorrenson's book: 'It is not an attempt to find an original or even a Pacific homeland for the Māori. I leave that task to the many others who are happily engaged on it.' But as a study of the development of ideas, this book is both fascinating and salutary.

Further information 


This publication is part of the series Te Takarangi: Celebrating Māori publications - a sample list of 150 non-fiction books produced by a partnership between Royal Society Te Apārangi and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga.